Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections can be one of the most frustrating, lengthy and expensive medical conditions that an owner and pet may face. These infections may clear up completely in two weeks, or may require six months or more of antibiotics and special tests.
- Urinating in odd places
- Blood in urine
- Change in the amount or frequency of urination
- Pain when urinating
- Most commonly, infections are diet related. Food may decrease the acidity of the urine, and this allows crystals or stone to form.
- Structural deformities in the bladder can predispose an animal to infection.
- Other infections or health issues, such as diabetes, can lead to bladder infections.
- Stones in the bladder can cause urinary tract infections.
- Masses or growths can cause urinary tract infections.
- The urine is tested for acidity, blood, protein, sugar and other signs of infections.
- A sample of urine is checked under a microscope to look for crystals, blood cells, and signs of kidney infection or damage.
- Treatment initially consists of antibiotics to treat the infection, and when necessary a diet change.
- The urinalysis provided information on the type and cause of the infection so that an appropriate antibiotic can be choses.
- A follow up urinalysis is extremely important at the end of the antibiotics to ensure that the infection is not still present even if signs have improved. Low levels of infection can be present and flare up once the antibiotics are discontinued.
- Some cases do not clear up on the first round of antibiotics and a second round of treatment with higher doses, longer period of treatment or a different antiobiotic may be required.
- If a special diet is prescribed, you pet will require a special diet for life.
- The grocery store urinary tract diets are not designed to treat patients with urinary tract problems. They are designed to be fed prior to the development of problems in hopes that a urinary tract infection will not occur.
- Once an infection or crystals have formed a stronger prescription diet is required to decrease the frequency of reoccurrence.
- Since everything the patient eats will alter the urine acidity it is important to only feed the special diet.
- When antibiotics fail to solve the problem further testing may be required.
- Radiographs can diagnose the presence of most stones. Rarely, pets can develop a type of stone that does not appear on radiographs. When doing a radiograph to check for deformities or growths special dyes or other techniques may be required.
- Urine cultures can determine the type of bacteria causing the infection and the best antibiotic to treat it.
- Blood work may be necessary to determine if another disease is causing the bladder infections.
- Surgery may be indicated in some patients to remove stones, check for growths, correct deformities, or take a sample of the bladder to have analyzed for infections or cancer.
Since most urinary tract infections are simple bladder infections that clear up with a two week course of antibiotics, we do not usually recommend the more extensive, invasive, and expensive tests at the start of treatment. We follow a standard protocol that we believe takes into account the best interest of your pet and your pocket book. If at any time you feel you would prefer to deviate from our standard protocol and have radiographs, cultures or other tests done at an earlier point in the course of treatment, we highly encourage you to discuss your feelings with he veterinarian. We want to work with you to find the best course of treatment for your pet.